Posted By Press Democrat Staff Writer Michael Coit:
Still young but more seasoned, the Maria Carrillo girls basketball team won’t sneak up on North Bay League rivals this season.
After going 5-5 in non-league play, including runner up in their division at the recent West Coast Jamboree classic, the Pumas are expected to contend for the NBL top spot with Montgomery, Santa Rosa and Ursuline.
Defense and quickness are Maria Carrillo’s strengths. The Pumas force steals and don’t commit many turnovers, signs of a good team.
Outscoring opponents will be the Pumas challenge.
Point guard and top scorer Taylor Graham with forward Madison Sowards lead Maria Carrillo’s end to end style of play. Both score in double figures with Graham a strong ball handler and Sowards a solid rebounder.
Emily Wilson – the Pumas only senior – anchors a solid rebounding squad. Sara Irvine is a sharpshooting guard providing another scoring option from outside.
Winning two of three games at the West Coast Jamboree — a top prep tournament in the East Bay — gives the Pumas, now 5-5, confidence heading into league play. Maria Carrillo lost the title contest to undefeated Reed, of Sparks, Nev., giving the Raiders one of their toughest game this season.
Maria Carrillo entered the season off a summer string of tournaments in Seattle and San Diego in addition to the Santa Rosa Junior College league.
What the Pumas want is another strong league effort and a deeper North Coast Section playoff run. Maria Carrillo lost to Montgomery in the league tournament final and fell in the first round of the sectionals last season.
With more experience, Maria Carrillo should be a formidable NBL foe from the start when league play starts this week.